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Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 21st April 2008

This year's Lincoln Center Festival, running from 2nd to 27th July, will include the National Theatre of Scotland production of Euripides's The Bacchae, in a new version by David Greig, with Alan Cumming, John Bett, Paola Dionisotti, Ewan Hooper and Cal MacAninch, directed by John Tiffany, in which the god of wine and dance has lured the women of Thebes away to Mount Cithaeron, but the young king Pentheus disguises himself as a woman and tries to get them to return home; and the Gate Theatre Dublin productions of Samuel Beckett's Eh Joe, a television play adapted and directed by Atom Egoyan, with Liam Neson as an isolated unspeaking male, addressed by unseen female (Penelope Wilton) reminding him of a past love affair that ended with the her suicide; First Love, with Ralph Fiennes as a man made homeless after his father's death, who becomes reluctantly involved with a woman he meets on a park bench, directed by Michael Colgan; and I'll Go On, with Barry McGovern in a distillation of the novels Molloy, Malone Dies and The Unnamable, directed by Colm O'Briain.

The Roundabout Theatre Company production of Christopher Durang's The Marriage Of Bette And Boo, which presents three decades of marriage, divorce, alcoholism, nervous breakdowns and death - blended in a mix of irony, humor and farce - played out in 33 quick scenes, directed by Walter Bobbie, will preview from June 13th, at the Laura Pels Theatre, opening on July 10th. The cast comprises Victoria Clark, John Glover, Terry Beaver, Heather Burns, Julie Hagerty, Kate Jennings Grant, Adam Lefevre, Charles Socarides and Christopher Evan Welch. The Laura Pels Theatre is located at 111 West 46 Street, between 6th and 7th Avenues.

It's Official! As previously forecast here, Arthur Miller's All My Sons, directed by Simon McBurney, will preview from September 15th at a Broadway theatre yet to be announced, with an official opening on October 2nd. No official casting has been announced, but John Lithgow and Dianne Wiest have been rumoured to be involved. It tells the story of a man who sold defective airplane parts to the military, and deflected the blame to his business partner, but his complicity comes to light when his son plans to marry the partner's daughter. The producer is Erik Falkenstein.

The opening production in the Vineyard Theatre's 2008/2009 season will be the world premiere of Tarell Alvin McCraney's Wig Out!, a story of two competing 'houses' of drag queens, and the loyalties and dreams which pull their members together and apart, directed by Tina Landau, opening in early October. This will be followed by the New York premiere of The Civilians' This Beautiful City, a play with music exploring the Evangelical movement and its unofficial U.S. capital Colorado Springs, created from interviews with church members, written by Steven Cosson and Jim Lewis, music and lyrics by Michael Friedman, directed by Cosson, opening in January. The Vineyard Theatre is located at 108 East 15th Street, between 4th Avenue and Irving Place.

Epic Theatre Ensemble will stage the New York premiere of Judith Thompson's Palace Of The End, a triptych of monologues that intimately explores the experiences of three real life key figures of the Middle East crisis, with Lynndie England, David Kelly and Nehrjas Al Saffarh, directed by Daniella Topol, previewing from June 11th at the Peter Jay Sharp Theatre at Playwrights Horizons, opening on June 23rd. Playwrights Horizons is located at 416 West 42nd Street, between 9th and 10th Avenues.

Classic Stage Company will present the Target Margin Theater world premiere production of David Greenspan's Old Comedy From Aristophanes' Frogs, adapted from the Greek classic, with Purva Bedi, Davina Cohen, Charlie Hudson III, Michael Levinton, Derek Lucci, Pedro Pascal, Anthony Mark Stockard and Tina Shepard, directed by David Herskovits, previewing from May 7th, opening on May 11th. The play begins in Aristophanes' Athens, which is mired in a horrible and losing war, bereft of political and artistic leadership. Classic Stage Company is located at 136 East 13th Street between 3rd and 4th Avenues.

Manhattan Theatre Club's 2008/2009 Broadway season the Biltmore Theatre will open with the world premiere of To Be Or Not To Be, Nick Whitby's stage adaptation of the 1942 dark comedy movie, directed by Casey Nicholaw, previewing from September 11th, with an official opening on October 2nd. The movie, screenplay by Edwin Justus Mayer (based on a story by Melchior Lengyel), tells the story of a couple running a theatre in Warsaw in 1939 at the time of the German occupation, who outwit the regime with their theatrical skills. Richard Greenberg's The American Plan, directed by David Grindley, will follow, previewing from January 2nd, opening on January 22nd. Set in the Catskill Mountains in the early 1960s, it is the story of an emotionally fragile young girl's attempt to loosen the bonds of her mother, and escape to the world outside.

Meanwhile MTC's 2008/2009 season at New York City Center will open with the world premiere of the musical Romantic Poetry, book and lyrics by John Patrick Shanley, music by Henry Kriege, about the madcap romantic entanglements of three very different women, directed by Shanley, previewing from October 1st, opening on October 28th. It will be followed by Lynn Nottage's Ruined, about the resilience of the human spirit during time of war, set in a small mining town in Democratic Republic of Congo, directed by Kate Whoriskey, previewing from January 21st, opening February 10th, a co-production with the Goodman Theatre in Chicago.

The Perry Street Theatre Company will stage the world premiere of Sallie Bingham's A Dangerous Personality, with Jodie Lynne McClintock, Nancy Anderson, Lisa Bostnar, Steve Brady, Sheffield Chastain and Graeme Malcolm, directed by Martin Platt, previewing from June 4th at the Julia Miles Theatre, opening on June 11th. It is a bioplay about Helena Blavatsky, the larger than life 19th century Russian born activist, adventurer, spiritualist and philosopher. The Julia Miles Theater is located at 424 West 55th Street, between 8th and 9th Avenues.

The Rumour Machine says: that the Stephen Sondheim-John Weidman musical, Bounce, the story of two brothers and their attempts to grab a piece of the American dream, will receive its New York premiere at the Public Theater in the fall, directed by John Doyle; and that the Goodman Theatre Chicago's upcoming production of Eugene O'Neill's family tragedy Desire Under The Elms, with Brian Dennehy, directed by Robert Falls, is looking for a Broadway transfer next spring. The Rumour Machine grinds on.